A single mom has just won the largest lottery prize in her state’s history, and she has announced that she will be sharing the fortune with those who need it most.
Last month, 51-year-old Lerynne West was celebrating the purchase of her first home. She had just finished moving into the house in Redfield, Iowa when she and her sister stopped by a convenience store for pizza and coffee. While she was there, she picked up a Powerball ticket.
West has regularly played the lottery, but the most that she has ever won from a ticket was $150. When she recently checked her Powerball ticket numbers, however, she realized that she had won the $343.9 million jackpot – the largest lottery prize ever won in the state of Iowa.
Instead of spending the money on extravagant luxuries, she is using the money to set up the Callum Foundation, a charitable organization named after her premature grandson who died the day after he was born.
“I realize this is a life-changing moment,” West said as she claimed her prize at the Iowa lottery headquarters. “I’m excited to share my winnings with family and friends … I also plan to give to the causes and organizations important to my family through our newly-established Callum Foundation.”
The foundation will offer grants to initiatives that alleviate poverty and hunger, and improve education, animal welfare, and veteran affairs.
Additionally, West appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to say that she was kicking off her new career in charity by donating half a million dollars to The Travis Mills Foundation, an organization that facilitates long-term support for veterans and their families.
Though she is taking a charitable approach to her winnings, West did add that she was excited to buy a new car that would be big enough to carry all of her grandchildren for future field trips.
(WATCH the video below to hear her winning story)
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